After Meriye B. Ouzounian 

by Knar Gavin



O, captains of infamy, again 
you’ve battered and eaten the world. 

Borges had it almost right. Every cata
clysm happens for the first time, 
and in a wash that is infernal.

                         With fighting
fossil capitalism 

               there’ve been attempts — over the sink
               and under the moon, some white-lit
               trying, as if 

               to cleanse 
               buttered hands  
               with cold water.

Our bodies are shitting credit cards
               by the week, so plastiform is this life. 

Some things work themselves into you, 
               and that is the only getting them gone.

Where we might’ve broken bread
               or even 
broken it off with the land-swallowers

instead capital’s tyrant uncles drove
their straws beneath beautiful surfaces
to guzzle past and future all at once. 

When we think of tenure
we ought to think 
of the land, & 
of those who 
would hold

to get 
to a settled future. 

Catastrophe fills the scope, but my Armenian blood knows
brutality is as old as the fossil record. 

I remember my great, great
               grandfather, Krikor. Buried alive, but first

                         he put mud on our faces
                         so we wouldn’t look pretty. 

               I realize, now, that I am in the situation of communication 
where Krikor could not be.
The truth is 
in the pudding, 
& its still blood. Or, 
               the medium is
               the massage that
                              structure will have been.


               he had pigeons
                                             he left all.

This full world is in flight for the stationed few. 

               O, Sinemas and, likewise, Pelosis and Kochs,
               O, Manchins — hot wives in cold houses
                              amidst this inferno 
                         of a near-future 4-degrees. 

I vow this: to cut the arms off every lifeboat. (1)

               To let them, all lovers of pigeons, survive the road out,
               to tear the fossil-hankering factory down, glitch
               the bone machine

                         with the incandescent power of those 
                                             neither wealthy nor insatiable 

               to wretch and howl the brute money men down.

Petes Buttigieg, Brians Deese: we’re coming.

               We’ve got mud on our faces 
and pigeon eyes in the millions.

We will not look pretty. 
               We will not back down.  




(1)  See Christian Parenti on the politics of the armed lifeboat, which he elaborates within the context of the climate crisis: “Political adaptation presents stark choices. There is a real risk that strong states with developed economies will succumb to a politics of xenophobia, racism, police repression, surveillance, and militarism and thus transform themselves into fortress societies while the rest of the world slips into collapse.” See Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence (Nation Books, 2011).

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